Ideas For A Tiny House Community

Living in a community or neighborhood with like-minded people is very appealing to many people I have spoke with since becoming involved with tiny houses. A great benefit of living in a tiny house community is that each individual has a unique ability, experience or knowledge that can benefit everyone. Also the resources needed for a tiny house community are minimal and with some thought the community could be mostly or completely self-sustaining.

I recently posted a photo of an old abandoned train in a field on the Tiny House Listings Facebook Page. Using each individual train car as a tiny house was my idea for building a tiny house community. Of course each train car could be laid out on individual lots for privacy or they could remain attached. Since the railway cars have already been built, you would be using almost all reclaimed materials.

My idea for a tiny house community.

I asked others on Facebook what their ideas were for a tiny house community. Here are the responses of those that provided their ideas.

“I worked the Christmas Train in my town this past December, mainly on the caboose. I couldn’t help but think how cool of a house that would make.” – Sedley.
Photo credit Olivia Ruth Photography.

“Tiny houses in the woods…Gypsy Style.” – Kenny.
Photo credit galenfrysinger.com

“I want 50 acres to put everyone I love in little self sufficient houses of their choice with a clubhouse to meet up and hang out when we wanted to and plenty of room to keep from killng each other when we didn’t wanna hang out.” – Rhonda

“I like the idea of yurts in a circle like a wheel with a common area for all.” – Dorothy.
Photo credit yurts.com

“My sister & I invision main/gathering house with a few upstairs rooms for visitors…bed & breakfast style. No Tiny house would be in sight of another. Shared garden. Spontaneous events. Shared talents…” – Jan
Photo credit Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

” I’d like a tiny house community on a lake here in Florida!” – Dorian

“How about a Tiny House Community set up like an IC with a main ‘shared’ house/area and individual Tiny Houses where we all could have our “own space”" – Joe
Photo credit beaverbrook.com

“How bout a circle down south with a pool in the middle also rec. room with pool table for the men other in for ladies to play cards or what ever . also have close to wal marts with ever one having golf cart, for shopping. if some one does this let me know will sign up” – Jorine

“So many people with the same love for others, I am impressed. I have 70 acres I bought 25 years ago, and in the back of my mind even back then , I would have enough space for my few friends to come live! I have a couple friends finally liking the idea as the world gets more corrupt! I wish I had friends like you that thought alike! If I had the money I would just put up the cabins and wait for the right friends to show up!” – Carol

For a tiny house community, I imagine a series of moss/earthed over hobbit-hole type homes nestled into the hills, so no ones home looks directly into another’s. The structures would generally be improved with salvaged/repurposed/harvested from the earth materials. Permaculture/Forrest gardens line and shade the road paths winding amongst the hills. Big fire pit/community kitchen at the foot of the hills. Water and wind power sources. All my friends are there.

“Airstream trailers connected with giant tunnels of PVC tubes. I’d call it the Habitrailer!” – Rachel

“A more modern version is the use of standard steel shipping containers made into modular homes that can be connected and/or stacked.

That being said, you could put the “container homes” on rail cars. You could have double high stacked homes. You could have motor home “pop-outs”. Perhaps you could have a train of cars that would keep on the move around the country, allowing the occupants to see the US, Canada, and maybe even Mexico at different parts of the year. Could even stop and spend 3 or 4 months at at time in various locations voted on by the “residents” of the train. They wouldn’t need to own the locomotives, just contract them to move them.

You could just have a few “trailer park” sites you used. You’d get to a site, have a semi and crane unload the containers and take them to the “trailer park”. Thus you’d just rent rail cars for moves. This system could be cheaper than using a motor home. And you don’t have two homes – you just move your home. Some homes could be made of multiple containers…” – Norm

“I looked at a caboose for sale in Pennsylvania on eBay last night. I think they wanted $3500, and it was in kinda rough shape. I still see wood & coal- burning caboose stoves on Craigslist, they are designed to be bolted to the floor & have fail-proof doors so that there’s no chance of hot coals coming out & catching the caboose on fire while it’s moving & rocking.

Seeing this photo reminds me of various relatives and acquaintances that have mentioned over the years about making a “tiny house village” where we would all live in community, sharing tools & effort, pooling resources, community kitchen for canning & big meals, with a meeting house area attached, etc, in order to basically live out the rest of our years & let the world go nutz without us. The idea was to have community-owned vehicles, like a 1-ton 4wd pickup with a snow-plow, 15-passenger van for shopping, school bus to be used as a moving van & for taking everyone along to the beach, little high mpg cars available in case someone has to travel, & whoever has to go furthest takes the newest one that gets the best mpg, etc. Lotsa details to work out but certainly do-able. Protect the individual’s privacy & family autonomy, while also protecting the community. Have a charter so that the community can outlive the members.” – Eric

“Hi! I’m thinking a vagon-comunity in a little unused train station…a train-lifestyle!” – Daniele
Photo credit goody122 – been busy


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43 Comments → “Ideas For A Tiny House Community”


  1. Adam Lewis

    Feb 27, 2012

    I am in Cecil county MD and love the idea of having a tiny home community with a central building, like a community center. Reminds me of all the fun I have camping.

    Reply

    • julie

      Feb 27, 2012

      Wow! Cecil! close by to me!

      Reply

    • Barbara

      Feb 27, 2012

      I would love a group of tiny houses as an artists community with one larger space for exhibitions of art, dance concerts, yoga and spiritual practice overlooking the ocean.

      Reply

      • Marcia

        Mar 03, 2012

        Yes!!!

        Reply

      • Roberta

        Apr 06, 2012

        Barbara, Sounds Great… where would you do this?

        Reply

    • Camille

      Oct 01, 2012

      I live in north Delaware and love Maryland, a few years ago I drew up details about a community, self sufficient, wind and solar powered with a common building for canning and gardens, chickens and other animals, I even want a lake stocked with fish. There is so much to work with now and lots of information. I wish we could all pool our money and resources to make this happen. contact me if you are truly serious. 302-559-7959 We might even get the State of Maryland or Delaware to help with the solar/wind power. We better wake up and do something for survival and that means standing together and working together.

      Reply

    • Steve

      Jul 28, 2013

      Did you guys ever do this in Maryland? I love the concept of Tiny Houses. Have you considered a lake rather than the ocean? (tropical storms).

      Reply

  2. Deb Wilber

    Feb 27, 2012

    Remember the movie “Big Fish”? There were two rows of little houses, with a common yard between them. Always wanted my entire family… Kids, grandkids, sisters, brother… Everyone together on the same property.

    Reply

    • nicolle

      Aug 12, 2013

      I have that same idea and if u get the kids and other family members together we can build each others homes would be great to teach kids they dont have to get a big house and ect…

      Reply

  3. julie

    Feb 27, 2012

    I found a beautiful caboose I wanted to live in… and had a whole idea about how you could have a property where you had “down on the lake” and “up on the hill”…. you could keep the train on the track and move it to whichever view you wanted.

    Reply

  4. Kera

    Feb 27, 2012

    Well, if I was to live in a tiny house community I would want some privacy. The idea of laying out tiny houses like a housing complex, suburb style is not horribly appealing. But a big plot of land where a number of people could spread out and have their own space … then a common area to hang out is not a bad idea.

    Some friends and I were talking about this around New Years. We were dreaming about buying an old piece of farm land. Using a big barn as the main house /community kitchen and social space and everyone having their own small home to go back to. In whatever shape that may take.

    I like the community concept a lot. Good discussion idea. :)

    Reply

  5. Mary

    Feb 27, 2012

    Now that’s what I’m talking about!!! So ready for this. Someone please email me when a community is started. But please, make it on the west coast, how about Oregon. Make it so!

    Reply

    • James

      Feb 27, 2012

      I agree.. I’m in Southern Utah and <3 the west coast!! LEMME KNOW! :D I just like the idea of a small town. Visiting Ghost towns and older miner villages make me wish that it was current and not modern
      mansions.

      Reply

      • Osvaldo

        Jul 15, 2013

        I totally agree with your idea of a tiny house communities.

        I am owner of two properties one in Lake arrowhead ( San Bernardino) California (size 3,700 sq) and other property in (Beryl, Utah 45,000 sq size) and I would like if someone would be interested in forming a tiny house communities.

        If you have information of people interested I am available to my properties, for those who want to form communities.

        regards,
        osvaldo

        Reply

  6. CG

    Feb 27, 2012

    I agree with Kera. Laying out a tiny house community like any other neighborhood only shrunk to scale is ugly and doesn’t actually address or meet the needs of so many who wish to live tiny. I don’t want to share my yard. I want a garden that is all my own. I don’t want to send my tots to the common play area. I want them in my fenced backyard. I don’t want to sit on a porch where the entire neighborhood can see me. I want privacy. And I especially don’t want to be cleaning up other people’s messes in the common areas.
    This concept has been done before. Look at all the camp meeting home communities. I’ve visited several and stayed at one. Our friends live at one. The houses are tiny and cute. Community space is shared. But everyone knows everyone elses business. 20 of your neighbors will know who visited you today or what you bought at the store. They’ll be able to smell what you had for lunch and hear what you’re watching on tv. They’ll hear a lot more than that too. And they often want to talk about what they know.:/ It’s not the model I would want to copy.
    Visiting,bartering and helping each other in a close-knit community is one thing, a commune is another entirely.

    Reply

    • ginmar

      Mar 03, 2012

      I totally agree with this. Everybody needs privacy, and I think the whole point of having lots of land is for everybody to have lots of space. Then you can socialize when you want to. Peace and quiet are kind of the allure.

      Reply

  7. Alvin Gosnell

    Feb 27, 2012

    The train, what an awesome idea.

    Reply

  8. dennis

    Feb 27, 2012

    I found this older campground that is the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula Beaches. The closest campground to the Pacific Ocean on the Olympic Peninsula yet a world away. A place to park you tiny home? Ready for trailers, some camping, public bathrooms and the beach. Would be nice to purchase the property with tiny homes in mind.

    Reply

    • Lisa

      Mar 04, 2012

      Are you planning to do that, Dennis? Do you have a plan? Are you looking for people to go in with you on this? How much$ is the place?

      Reply

  9. Val Owens

    Feb 27, 2012

    I love the idea of a charter piece of land. I thought that if likeminded people went together they could buy the entire parcel in .5, 1, or 5 acre lots. I think it would be good if there were actually several. Perhaps one near tennessee mountains, another florida nearbeach, out west Montana, Colorada, Wyoming, Arizona and upstate New York or New Hampshire. People could have a choice or seasonally transition to a couple of communities. I know I like the North except when there is 2 feet of snow and subzero temps, then I long for beach weather.
    There would be a community center with a large kitchen for cooking and canning however, you tiny home kitchen could serve when you just want a quiet dinner alone. The community center would have shower and laundry facilities. With recreation room so adults and children could socialize when friendly faces or the feeling of being holed up in small space during rainy season. My job is online so unfortunately, internet access is desired.

    Adults would bring skills like gardening, home repair, educating children to a shared environment. I like the idea of sharing automatic resources like moving truck, bus, van, and energy efficient cars for travelling.

    I like my privacy but love the idea of shared gardening and resources. My young daughter and I are very excited about the development of these communities. We are building our own tiny home and I was most worried about being in a park and socialization. We want to volunteer and share community.

    Reply

    • Joe3

      Mar 04, 2012

      I like your idea, I’d be a snowbird also.

      Reply

    • Rick D.

      Jun 13, 2013

      Exactly as I envision it!!! A looking for it with at least part-time retirement just around the corner…Love the idea of having a little “room” to have your own yard/garden. Wife already has the style and floorplan for her “Tiny House” developed so its just a matter of where? I’m leaning towards the foothills of the the Smokies in TN. myself…Beautiful area!!! Anybody going to do this and need commitment from others?

      Reply

  10. Peter

    Feb 27, 2012

    Hmmm…. seems to me that most everybody that has posted is looking not to invent a new eutopian society but yearning for the good old days of small town living. In the bygone days of yesteryear, people lived in or around a central village. There would be a common area (town common?) used by all, someplaceto gather, maybe a few small independant businesses that served the community, bartering would of course been central to the villages way of life. Those that lived in town most likely would live above their own stores. Everybody else would live on their own little piece of land a short walk or ride from the village, in whatever little tiny house they choose. There would probably be a village council that made sure everything runs smoothly and that everybody in the communitys voices are heard. This model has worked and prospered for centuries all around the world, even here in the good old USA. It is not a commune, its not communisn or socialism. It is just good old common sense (good old yankee ingenuity as my mother would say). I have been searching for just such a community for years. I havent found it yet, but who knows, maybe someone from this website will go ahead and start one. Stranger things have happened ( like suburbia). Thats all. Just my 2 or 3 cents worth, Peace Out everybody.

    Reply

    • emmy

      Jan 15, 2013

      looked and visited east coast, canadian, inland usa “intentional communties”. came back to a town in nm down from the mts where i homesteaded. yup usa folks time to gather. bought a 48 westwood coronado, still seeking land. food needs be grown,life needs to resume at home! gave up my car 3 years ago fter wanting to for 20 years. it is a switch! interested parties in northern nm?

      Reply

  11. Tracy

    Feb 27, 2012

    You are all describing “IC’s”. Intentional communities. There is a website directory. Choose by state, type,other parameters. Dancing rabbit is place that caught my eye. I want to be apart of the build process. They build with many different alternative methods. Solar as well.
    I had to hop back into my condo for a couple months and I’m hating it. Miss my camper in the woods. Gonna start working on turning my little rough sawn timber frame into a tiny place. I insulated the floor a few months back w my little one assisting. Im glad there are so many like minded people to exchange knowledge and experiences with. God bless all of you. Tracy in the woods in Chapin.

    Reply

  12. Don

    Mar 03, 2012

    Here’s “The Inn Place” in Texas. It’s an all-rental community comprised 100% of matching small monolithic dome homes. A similar community of owned domes, instead of rentals could certainly be built almost anywhere.

    http://www.monolithic.com/stories/the-inn-place-new-rentals-old-pattern

    Reply

    • Joe3

      Mar 04, 2012

      I’ve been to visit in Italy, Tx and have seen these. Although I like the dome idea, I’d prefer building a Cottage or Craftsman style home.

      Reply

  13. Patricia Lynn

    Mar 03, 2012

    I’m extremely lucky – I now own the home/trailer I grew up in it’s a 1959 Smoker Mobile home and it’s 10 X 55. I also own a park model home in http://www.riverviewrv.com Riverview RV park – but it has the problem mentioned before of everyone knowing what you do before you even do it – so it’s my get away place when the city drives me nuts. But my Smoker trailer is on it’s own lot and a half and it’s a corner lot with an oversized 2 car garage. So there are places where you can have your tiny or smaller home and a lot and privacy. Finding these places is why I got a real estate license. I just want to help people find this type of living arrangement. You can see my home here:
    http://www.redfin.com/CO/Federal-Heights/8900-Decatur-St-80260/home/34927949.

    I’m also a train nut – I’d love to live in a caboose – wonder what happened to all the cabooses I used to see on trains in the 50′s, and 60′s. Any one have any ideas?

    Any questions about smaller homes feel free to ask.

    Reply

    • Alfred Otto

      Mar 26, 2012

      Most of the old cabooses, box cars, and locomotives go to dismantling yards. Their is one of these yards in Paducah, Ky.. their is one in western Ne., Also one in Pa. somewhere. Unfortunately most of those train cars and caboooses would not be a good place to raise your family. They were painted with lead based paint, and the wood was soaked in enough pesticide to keep bugs from eating them. Train cars are even worse. when being used they have chemicals and other things spilled in them. when something is spilled it goes to a housekeeping yard where they do the bare minimum to get the car back in service.

      Reply

  14. Tish

    Mar 03, 2012

    These are all such fantastic ideas. I am approaching retirement age and would love to “run away and join the circus” by moving to a tiny house with like-minded souls. So many older people are by themselves and lack even the most basic sense of community; this concept would eliminate that without the huge expense of most old folks’ warehouses (“assisted living,” my ass). It would be fantastic to live with people of all ages, everyone teaching and everyone learning. My heart skips a beat at the potential.

    Reply

  15. Lisa

    Mar 04, 2012

    Here is our dream: We are looking at off-grid, unrestricted land (20 or so acres) in northeastern Washington. We desire to live as freely and without outside obligations (i.e. bills) as we can.

    We envision a property probably 25 to 30 minutes from a small town, where we will build a small house and have a garden and greenhouse, and our chickens (for eggs, meat and fertilizer) and goats (for milk), perhaps a steer or bison and a few pigs (for meat).

    We would like to make the place available to others who would like to live this way. We believe that cooperation has advantages over strict capitalism, and we are thinking that people could bring their tiny houses/yurts, etc. and pay a small amount of rent and share in the work with the garden and animals in exchange for sharing in the food.

    We still have many steps to take before we will be on that land, but I am wondering if there is interest in this idea?

    Reply

  16. Daniel

    Mar 29, 2012

    What about eastern Kentucky?? My wife has a good job and we are going to stay here. Anyone interested in being a Hillbilly?

    Reply

  17. Abel Zyl Zimmerman

    Apr 26, 2012

    We are doing something like this in Olympia WA. My family and I are going to be in the main house (on 17 acres), a couple yurts out back are where our other friends are making their homes. And we are looking for the right person/couple for my 20′ tiny house, which we will park up on the hill overlooking the rolling pasture.

    We will share farming and i will run my tiny house business, Zyl Vardos, from the shop there.

    As far as the rules go, the outer yurts are art studios, wink. Yurts have been difficult in this area in the past. They are perfectly wonderful buildings though, no reason why they shouldnt be legit.

    Reply

  18. Lori

    Apr 29, 2012

    Has anyone heard of plans for a tiny house community in Northern California? My dream is to live in an artist community (intentional community/commune, tribe, village) with about a dozen other tiny-house owners. Any ideas?

    Reply

    • jimi

      Aug 03, 2014

      i would like to co purchase a piece of land in northern California with other artists/gardeners/builders who would establish a mostly self sufficient community with a central dome and a yurt village…any one else?

      Reply

  19. j dog

    May 10, 2012

    I think there are lots of people who are coming back to the idea of smaller more self-sufficient communities for a reason; it’s because people are growing weary of their current fast paced life style and the the fact that there economy and government aren’t as strong as they appear to be anymore, I am taking steps to look after my family regardless of what happens to the Australian economy by setting up a self sufficient hobby farm, all ready bought the land and have set up a workers hut, now I’m focusing on dam building and and other basic foundational ground works that should see us through any most times, and hay, if everything remains all right down in Aus it’s still gonna be a great place to get away from the city and save money on groceries etc.

    Reply

  20. staceyranae

    Dec 28, 2012

    Cade Lakes in Caldwell Tx. could be a good place to start up a tiny house village. Lots of land with few restrictions… my uncle has a small piece of land out their and it’s perfect for a tiny house. You can see it at: bvtxweb.com_magnolia_walkup …Enjoy!

    Reply

  21. Laura

    Feb 16, 2013

    The internet makes you realize every dream you ever had is not unique and that people are more alike than you could ever hope to realize.

    Reply

  22. Estar Holmes

    Feb 16, 2013

    These comments are beautiful music. We also need to be smart about what jurisdictions will put up with. Check out this Pockets of Freedom map I found on earthship-dot-com/pockets-of-freedom.

    Reply

  23. Osvaldo

    Jun 25, 2013

    I totally agree with your idea of a tiny house communities.
    I am owner of two properties one in Lake arrowhead size 3,700 sq and other property in town of Beryl, Utah 45,000 sq size and I would like if someone would be interested in forming a tiny house communities would help many people who are homeless or are losing their homes today.
    If you have information of people interested I am available to my properties, for those who want to form communities.

    regards

    osvaldo

    Reply

  24. Stephen

    Aug 21, 2013

    I love the idea of sustainable communities,with tiny home living as part of its core. In my vision it would have to be communal ownership of land and vision,open to all(especially economically) and just really love the outdoors and idea of a real community which is so not present in most of our society anymore. How would i go about starting something like this in the Lake George/ Adirondack region of New York? Does it already exist?

    Reply

  25. N. Ricco

    Nov 30, 2013

    Has anyone checked out the website “tinytexashouses.com” they sale floorplans. I also wanted to know if anyone is interested in underground homes (subterranean) since they require little to no heat or ac, not to mention some security protection aspects. Additionally, does anyone have plans for communities in more temperate climates where you could farm/thrive more months each year. Are some of these communities child friendly? Are you looking for some specially trained folks to trade their services for housing – ie nurse, teacher, carpentet?

    Reply

  26. elizabeth

    Jul 21, 2014

    yes I love the tiny homes and would love to have a tiny home not so tiny

    and another tiny home to be my art studio, would love it if in Ware shoals SC could

    start a perm. tiny home community such a great Idea………I am in the process of putting

    my 1300 square home up for sale with 1 1/2 acres to down size……………sure wished

    more people in this area knew about the tiny house movement

    Reply

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